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This article describes the characteristics of tools and dies and the causes of their failures. It discusses the failure mechanisms in tool and die materials that are important to nearly all manufacturing processes, but is primarily devoted to failures of tool steels used in cold-working and hot-working applications. It reviews problems introduced during mechanical design, materials selection, machining, heat treating, finish grinding, and tool and die operation. The brittle fracture of rehardened high-speed steels is also considered. Finally, failures due to seams or laps, unconsolidated interiors, and carbide segregation and poor carbide morphology are reviewed with illustrations.

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